Chance May Crown Thee
Is there anything SHAKESPEARE didn't say? Settle your bets with the new Modern Library edition of the complete works. It comes out just two days after Abrams Books releases Manga Shakespeare: Hamlet, an illustrated guide to muscled melancholy, and Manga Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, a tale of star-crossed lovers and their flowy, well-drawn hair. . . . If plays could write, perhaps SAMUEL BECKETTS's Endgame would tell of its journey to London for its premiere at the Royal Court Theatre fifty years past. The playwright had wanted to put it on in France but couldn't find a French theater willing to host a blind man who can't stand up and a servant who can't sit down.
'Cuz God Needed a Singer
APRIL 8 –14
Thirteen years ago, on April 8, the body of Nirvana front man KURT COBAIN was found in the garage of his Seattle home. Mark his passing by curling up with the just-published Nirvana: The Biography, Everett True's no-doubt-true story of the Godfather of Grunge
APRIL 15 –21
We should know the new GUGGENHEIM FELLOWS by now (the names drop in the first two weeks of April). And PULITZER PRIZE winners are announced on April 16. But if you weren't on the list, don't sweat it. We're all winners. It's not about what you do, but how you live. So says literary theorist TERRY EAGLETON, whose newest book, The Meaning of Life, pubs this week.
Intellectual, essayist, and dissident GEORGE KONRÅD looks back on his life in A Guest in My Own Country. The Hungarian writer participated in the 1956 uprising against the Soviet Union and suffered imprisonment, as well as a publication ban on his works in the '70s and '80s.
APRIL 29– MAY 5
You know VÅCLAV HAVEL cowrote the Charter 77 manifesto. But you've never grooved to the sounds of the Plastic People of the Universe, the psych band whose imprisonment inspired Charter 77? (For shame!) Why not make today the day you say yes to the Plastics? Stream MP3s online while you curl up on the couch with To the Castle and Back, the memoir by the playwright, former Czech Republic president, and cochair of the Committee on the Present Danger. (Joe Lieberman is just an honorary cochair.) Havel is enjoying something of a renaissance: He was an artist-in-residence at Columbia University this winter, all his plays were performed, and he just turned seventy, which is like what turning thirty-five was in 1972, the year Havel actually turned thirty-five.
Murakami on the Shore
MAY 6 –12
Since Sputnik Sweetheart in 1999, marathon runner and jazz freak HARUKI MURAKAMI has seemed to write a book every other year. His newest, After Dark, comes out on May 8. It's the story of what happens between dusk and dawn in the lives of two sisters. . . . Hey, sisters are women, right? And women sometimes get married (in addition to having very successful and fulfilling careers). Like the women in Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings. COLLEEN CURRAN edits Curtis Sittenfeld, Amy Sohn, et al.
For the Birds
MAY 13 –19
It's a big week for anniversaries: The centenary of DAPHNE DU MAURIER's birth falls on May 13, just a day after the hundreth anniversary of JORIS-KARL HUYSMAN's death. Huysmans, né Charles-Marie-Georges Huysmans, captured his contemporaries in the malaise-ridden Ā Rebours. Du Maurier wasn't given to quite such debauched luxury: She was too busy imagining the horrors of "The Birds" and Rebecca, both of which were turned into movies by stout, ovophobic Alfred Hitchcock. . . . Speaking of father figures, ALEXANDER WAUGH publishes Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family this week. It tells the story of Arthur, Alec, Evelyn, Auberon, and Alexander, who in addition to having fabulous names are members of a fancy literary family indeed. . . . Now, becoming a writer isn't easy. But getting a domain name is! And what if you make the jump from blog to book? Then you're eligible to win a LULU BLOOKER, a prize given to books based on websites. A ten-thousand-dollar grand prize goes to the best of the best.
Today in Hellman
MAY 20 –26
Subpoenaed to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee on May 21, 1952, LILLIAN HELLMAN smartly told them where they could stick it: "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions." (Would it be a Bookforum calendar without a Lillian Hellman reference?)
Fare or Foul
MAY 27 –31
Israeli graphic artist RUTU MODAN's Exit Wounds comes out this week. Her US debut is the story of a taxi driver in present-day Tel Aviv looking for his father, who may have been killed in a suicide bombing. . . . File under awkward transitions: Happy hundreth birthday, RACHEL CARSON! The brain behind Silent Spring, which kickstarted the environmental movement, will be remembered this week. . . . And of course, as you bookish, drinking types know, BOOKEXPO AMERICA is in New York this year, beginning May 31.